Plague Diary 16: The World Is On Fire

A couple weeks ago I started a blog entry about supermarkets, and how we have all just managed to get used to the idea that the stores are going to be out of things regularly. I feel like it’s important to remember that up until oh just six fucking months ago this was unheard of, by and large, and stores, big stores, did not regularly have big empty spaces on the shelves and weeks that went by when you just couldn’t get x (in my case, plain seltzer in cans, WTF?) But now that happens and we all just act like it’s normal because it is, now.

Oh well! that no longer rates a whole blog post. It probably should!

Meanwhile, the first week of September I loaded up the camper and the dogs and we went up to Olympic National Park for a couple days of camping. It was mostly awesome but I was hoping to do a bit more hiking; unfortunately, you’re not allowed to take dogs hiking at Olympic National Park. I need to do more research before I blithely strike out for parts unknown, clearly. So we stayed by the beach, which was beautiful and actually it was great; no phone! No computer! No internet! I read and reread a whole bunch of Joan Aiken and I wrote actual letters on paper.

Then we came back to Astoria and shortly thereafter the fires started. We are lucky enough not to be near any fires but unlucky enough that the wild west winds that started the fires in the first place – no, you goddamn morons, it was not “Antifa”, we are smart enough not to burn down the places that we live, unlike you – blew all the smoke to the coast, where it has mostly remained. We are better off than Portland and other places in the middle of the state, but not by much: our air quality is hovering around the 200 AQI mark, which means it’s very unhealthy and you shouldn’t go outside. I have a Harvey so I have to go outside and I can feel it, a heaviness in my chest, my eyes start stinging, I get a headache. And the air was yellow, now is white, but you can’t see very far and everything is muted and thick. It sucks. I hate it. It has kicked my anxiety into high gear and I can’t do anything at all. The recommendations, such as they are, even tell us not to vacuum. I have never been forbidden to vacuum before and it turns out it’s a sure way to make me yearn to do it.

I followed the advice of this tutorial and created an air purifier and I dipped into savings and bought the cheapest HEPA air purifier I could find on Amazon. It turned out to be tiny so it’s in the bedroom. If I spend an hour or two in there I can emerge with a little energy, unlike the rest of the time when I just want to lie on the couch and play fish game (fishdom, don’t do it, you will end up like me, on level 972 and actually caring that you have been demoted yet again to silver league) or watch weird reality TV. Yet again things are piling up undone and I get the uneasy feeling that I have slipped out of the depressed, but coping section and into the depressed and not coping one.

But what the hell does it matter? The world is burning. In the fire zones, there are armed people stopping traffic and accusing others of being antifa, as if anyone with a brain and a heart isn’t anti fascist. The cops are continuing to shoot black people with impunity. The protests in Portland have gone on so long they no longer mean anything. Homeless people are stuck breathing poison air and there is nowhere for them to go. We’re all breathing poison air; the skies are yellow or red; you can look directly at the sun without hurting your eyes. And the seagulls, last week, slept all through the dark day.

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